How much do you think about photography in the design of websites and digital marketing? James Chudley joins us on this podcast episode to talk about photography, design, and lots more. And here are some links for things we talk about:
HumanTech is a podcast at the intersection of humans, brain science, and technology. Your hosts Guthrie and Dr. Susan Weinschenk explore how behavioral and brain science affects our technologies and how technologies affect our brains.
You can subscribe to the HumanTech podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts.
I’m a big fan of online video, video blogging and the importance of photography in design. But I’m a total amateur when it comes to the technical side of photography and video, such as lighting and cameras. You know that phrase, “know enough to be dangerous”. That pretty much describes me. I’m largely self-taught, and if you watch some of my videos over time I’m sure you can see the evidence that I’m learning as I go!
Luckily I’m going to shortly get some help. I’m teaching part-time this semester at University of Wisconsin, and one of my colleagues at the university, Katie Stern, is an expert at all things photography. I’m hiring her to come to my video studio and help me work with lighting, and I’m really excited to do so!
(Warning… it’s a textbook and full of beautiful images — i.e., it’s not inexpensive!!) There’s this great section towards the end that kind of sums up all the things you can learn in the book, and I thought it was an interesting set of questions to ask yourself when you are evaluating a photo that you are thinking of using in one of your projects, for example, at a website, book, or whatever else you are designing. Here are the questions that Katie suggests you ask:
Describe the photograph. What does it look like? Color, grayscale, areas of each?
What is the subject matter in the photograph?
Can you tell from which social era it came? What clues give you that information?
Does the photograph give you a sense of time (day or night, long exposure or short exposure)? What clues give you that information?
What can you discern about the camera’s aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings when the photograph was made? What visual clues lead you to your conclusions?
What was the approximate focal length of the lens? Wide angle? Telephoto? What leads you to your conclusion?
What were the lighting conditions when the photograph was made? Do you think flash was used at all? Can you discern the distance, direction, and color temperature of light source(s)?
What was the vantage point of the camera when the photograph was made? Was the camera low to the ground, at eye level, overhead, or somewehre in between?
Did the photograph have an emotional impact on you when you first saw it? What emotions did the photograph trigger in you?
What emotional response do you think the photographer was trying to evoke in a viewer? Did the photgrapher’s intention match your emotional reaction?
What concept or idea do you think the photographer was trying to portray with the photograph?
Do you think the photographer was successful in translating these thoughts into a visual form? What aspects of the photograph lead you to this conclusion?
Considering your thoughts on the lighting, choice of lens, vantage point, aperature, shutter speed, and ISO the photographer used, what could the photographer have done differently to strengthen the message?
Do the following elements help or hurt what you perceive as the concept of the photograph?
Cropping of the photo Density (lightness or darkness) in the overall photograph Contrast (the range between the lightest and darkest areas of the photo) Details (or lack thereof) in shadows and highlights Depth of field Composition Color (if it’s a color image) such as color balance, brightness or dullness of the colors, and how the colors relate to each other within the photograph
What changes would you make if you could have made the photograph yourself?
Wow, makes me realize just how much I don’t know!
What do you think? Do you know enough to evaluate photos this thoroughly? How important do you think it is to evaluate the photos you use?
If you are interested in Katie and her book you can find more info on her Amazon author page.
What is the role of photography in the user experience of websites? James Chudley and I explore this topic in a podcast. James is the (co)-author of Smashing UX Design, a new book coming out in June of 2012.
James and I recorded the podcast in person, at his office in Bristol, UK. In the podcast we talk about the role that photography plays in the user experience of a website. One of my favorite discussions in the podcast is how to incorporate photos into the user experience process, and about the role that the UX person could or should have when choosing photographs for a website.
In addition to the book, James also runs a great blog:
Listen to the podcast, check out the blog and the book, and let us know via comments what you think. Who chooses the photographs for the websites and projects you work on? How much time are you giving to the photos you choose?